By Brad Carroll
This season can’t get any worse for the New York Giants. With four losses to open the season, and struggles in every facet of the game along the way, the Giants have gone from a team many thought would win the NFC East to one that could be picking at the top of the draft next season.
The Giants are already three games behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the division race and three games out of a wild card berth to boot. Only one team has made the postseason after starting 0-4, the 1992 San Diego Chargers, but even they might have had a different result considering those early holes the current Giants are in.
But looking at the postseason possibilities doesn’t make much sense until the Giants actually prove they can win a game. Luckily, they have a winless Los Angeles Chargers team coming to town Sunday afternoon. The Chargers and Giants are two of four winless teams, along with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.
So if there ever was a week to get the Giants back on the winning side of things, this is it. Here are three keys for the Giants getting that first win Sunday against the Chargers.
Give Majority Of Carries To Wayne Gallman
The Giants rookie running back touched the ball just 13 times last week against the Buccaneers in his first action of the season, but it was more than enough to prove he’s the best player they have in the backfield. Gallman had 42 yards on 11 carries and added two receptions for eight yards and a touchdown. The fourth-round pick out of Clemson wasn’t thought to have much of an impact, especially with Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen ahead of him on the depth chart, but an injury to Darkwa opened up an opportunity and Gallman took advantage. Plus, Perkins has been terrible as the lead back, gaining 61 yards on 32 carries for the season. That’s right, the entire season. The Giants should make Gallman the lead runner against the Chargers Sunday, especially considering Los Angeles can’t stop the run. The Eagles ran for 214 yards against the Chargers last week. This is the game for the Giants to break out of their season-long ground game funk and Gallman is the guy to lead the way.
Don’t Let Joey Bosa Beat You
Remember Ziggy Ansah? The Giants lost to the Lions in big part because he manhandled tackle Ereck Flowers on his way to a three-sack game. Ansah had been nearly invisible for more than a year before his big game against the Giants porous offensive line. In the two games he’s played since, he’s had zero sacks. Sunday the Giants have to deal with Joey Bosa, who is better than Ansah and one of the better defensive ends in football. Bosa has 2.5 sacks in four games this season and had 10.5 sacks in 12 games last year as a rookie out of Ohio State. The Giants can’t let Bosa, or linebacker Melvin Ingram (5.5 sacks) for that matter, beat them. Keep Eli Manning off the turf and the Giants will be one giant step closer to their first win.
Show Up Early For Once On Offense
For two straight weeks the Giants offense put together some late-game magic, first scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter against the Eagles to put themselves in position to win, only to lose on a last-second field goal, and then took the lead for the first time late in the third quarter and again with three minutes to go in the fourth against the Buccaneers last week before losing on another last-second field goal. Needless to write, the Giants can’t afford to keep playing from behind and expect to win, which they haven’t been able to do this season. Odell Beckham Jr. is starting to play like his old self and the running game could get a boost if Gallman finds opportunity and success, which are all positives the Giants have to take advantage of early. Fall behind again and the Giants could be 0-5. Play like they have the last two games over the final 20 minutes or so in the first half and the Giants will finally have a victory.